I might have given a pass to the “brand robots” a few years ago. I may have excused their “I-don’t-have-to-care-so-I’m-not-going-to” behaviour since there was nothing we could really do about it. A decade ago it was just the status quo. We’ve all had to deal with them.
Now? Now I find big inhuman faceless tone-deaf brands absolutely deplorable.
So what’s changed? Well, first we’ve been able to see new human-based brands emerge. Brands like WestJet and Think Geek. Brands that have an actual voice. Brands that talk to us and do it like we’re actual people, brands that are interesting, accessible and fun.
Second. I think that the time and place to be a big vacuous, faceless, robot brand is past. It was easy to do when the media landscape wasn’t so open. When social media didn’t allow people to call bullshit. And when transparency didn’t exist for organizations.
I have no more tolerance for brands that assume that we’re dumb. That we’re not worthy of their time or energy (cost).
What’s the alternative? What does it mean to build a human brand? Here’s a few thoughts:
01. Sound Human: Conversational tone isn’t a style of writing… it’s the way we sound. Sound accessible, invitational, approachable. Whatever you do, don’t sound like an untouchable arrogant force of indifference. No more white noise please.
02. Think Human: Is this good communication? Or is it robot-speak? Are we phoning it in? Or trying to make a real connection? Is this lame (like really really lame)? Are we actually solving a customer’s problem? Stop it. Let’s think like humans, for humans. Empower people to make human decisions. Kill the checklist.
03. Be Human: Until our collective consciousness is uploaded to the singularity mainframe... we are humans. Humans with emotion, constraints, needs. We make mistakes, we apologize, endorse and we cheer. How are we treating people within the brand? The way we behave within the brand certainly translates to the experience we provide customers on the outside.